To the Editor: Suzanna Jones’ recent commentary on legislation eroding protections of Vermont’s waterways has been called “divisive … gratuitous … uninformed… and caustic.” Ouch! That got me thinking: what is it about intelligent, strong-willed women who speak truth to power that drives privileged males mad?
Several years ago, Annette Smith of Vermonters for a Clean Environment was accused by a high-priced Burlington attorney of practicing law without a license. The attorney was suspected of doing the dirty work for a powerful male involved in the renewable energy industry. The charge was dismissed. Recently, the Commissioner of Public Safety, another prominent male, demeaned my State Representative Tanya Vyhovsky as “uppity.” Now, Suzanna Jones has become a bee in another man’s bonnet.
All this reminds me of Rachel Carson, known for her seminal, ground-breaking work on the dangers of pesticides in her book "Silent Spring." Carson, a scientist, anticipated that her work would draw criticism from the chemical industry, but she evidently was unprepared for attacks that were highly charged with “virulence and personal animosity.” One Carson scholar spotlighted this particular slur: “An official with the Federal Pest Control Review Board drew laughter from his audience when he remarked, 'I thought she was a spinster. What’s she so worried about genetics for?'”
In ancient philosophy and in many religious traditions, Sophia is the feminine personification of wisdom. In my view, Vermont could use more wise women. Suzanna Jones is one of them.
Bruce S. Post,